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Monday, September 26, 2011

Funkin' the Fifteenth

Sunday was kind of a miracle; I was in Paris, it was sunny, and I got to hang out with a great group of people walking around Paris. I joined the Paris if you Please meetup group for their "Funkin' the Fifteenth" walking tour. We spent two hours talking (much of this) walking (lots) and looking (not so much due to being too distracted by the first two for me!).
We did see cool outdoor metal sculptures, a street with homes from the early 1900's one one side and a big modern low rental housing on the other, a winery complete with samples of pinot noir, 3 beautiful parks, a hidden Russian Orthodox church, a very cute artists street, and even a lighthouse!

At the end of our walk we all stopped for refreshments, and discovered a common interest in food. Seven of us made our way to Saravanaa Bhavan near Gare du Nord for really good vegetarian food from Southern India. An excellent day, really nice people and finally good Indian food in Paris; what could be better?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What I learned in the Czech Republic

Traveling always gives me a chance to learn something; sometimes about me and sometimes about the pace or the people who live there. This past week was no exception. I was invited to speak at a client meeting on the future of digital and the practical business aspects of introducing new technology. What did I learn?
  1.   That presenting to an audience of Czech and Hungarians in English gives less than desirable results;
  2.    When you ask them to teach you something in Czech and Hungarian you should be sure to check the meaning before you show off your new language skills to everyone;
  3. That I don’t like Czech, Hungarian or Austrian food much;
  4. That Budweiser beer was originally Czech, not American (pretty sure Bud Light Lime is all American though)
  5. Traveling 5km across the Austrian border officially places you in the Czech Republic but not noticeably so;
  6. There are at least 3 Moulin Rouge locations in Europe;
  7.  When asking to be dropped off in the city center of Vienna you really should be more specific. Or have a map. Or speak German. Or get rather lost, which is also interesting;
  8.   If you are in premium shopping area, leave your premium credit card at home.

Random wall decoration Vienna

St Stephen Cathedral

Danger ahead!

The Opera House

Moulin Rouge #3

Unremarkable in Vienna
Colorful characters
The trip was far too short to become knowledgeable about Mikulov or Vienna, or any of the people I met. The drive through the vineyards, arrival in an area with several old castles rich in ancient and recent historical events, and of course the beautiful city center of Vienna were all good reasons for a return visit.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Going Home Again

My childhood home in Hilden, Nova Scotia

You can’t go home again
And expect to find what you left
Preserved in resin
Protected for your return

Some things never change
You still laugh so hard with your sisters
Your mother threatens to disown all of you
And friends remain friends
I went to school here
Your junior high school is torn down
Keddys Motor Inn is now a Holiday Inn
There are more places to eat out
And the movie theater is no longer in town limits

Victoria Park in all its beauty
Still challenges you to get lost for a couple of hours
Glorious trees gracefully touch across the quiet streets
And oh the beautiful Victorian homes

People always ask if I will move back
Probably not – it would not be that “me” anymore
But a visit somehow
Restores an order in my soul.